Why the Triumph Bonneville T120 is a good choice for long-term ownership | Taza Khabre

Key findings

  • The Triumph Bonneville T120 offers a timeless retro design with modern technology, making it a great choice for riders who value style and practicality.
  • The T120 is reliable and easy to maintain, backed by a two-year warranty and 10,000-mile service interval, ensuring hassle-free and affordable ownership for drivers.
  • The T120 perfectly blends classic and modern elements, offering a comfortable and relaxed ride with a responsive engine and easy handling, making it a desirable modern classic motorcycle.


Although Triumph motorcycles nCompeting in the market of high-performance modern motorcycles, the company began its revival with the production of retro motorcycles. The first was the revived Triumph Bonneville in 2001. This great bike had the look and feel of the iconic Bonneville from the 60s, but with a modern underpinning. This was the beginning of the retro motorcycle boom.

Retro bikes are big business and models are available in every segment. Manufacturers make money by selling new bikes, offering a new model every year, a new feature here, a matte black exhaust there, and a couple more horses for a couple thousand more.

Bonnies are different and the best Triumph that shows that difference is the Triumph Bonneville T120. You can choose between one with lots of chrome and one with black chrome elements. And, er, that’s it. Not that the Bonneville T120 is a technical relic stuck in the past. The T120 gets better every year; everything just looks the same. And for some motorcyclists, that’s great.

Technical details of Triumph Bonneville T120 are taken from official website and press center of Triumph. Reliability and cost of ownership data is sourced from various sources including Motor and Wheels, Triumph Talk, Triumph Rat and Your Motor Geek.

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The Triumph Bonneville T120 as an endurance motorcycle

With its retro design, Triumph has struck a good balance between looks and practicality. Solid retro design has not undergone significant changes over the years. Triumph does regularly release special edition bikes, but the details of the change are sketchy. If the look of the T120s has you hooked, there’s no reason to consider buying a new model to stay on trend.

Motorcycle designers often try too hard to achieve a convincing retro look, which can lead to a steampunk look. Triumph strikes the right balance with the T120. The engine looks great, with subtle vintage details hiding the modern technology. The radiator grill is inconspicuous compared to the one on Indian motorcycles. The fuel injection unit, disguised as carburetors, is a particularly nice touch. The finish on this bike is superb and the detailing throughout is crisp and authentic.

The engine and other moving parts are reliable. The low-load twin engine is ideal for everyday driving, from commuting to weekend cruising, and is quite capable on longer journeys. The Triumph Bonneville comes with a two-year warranty. A 10,000 mile service interval also makes for comfortable and affordable ownership. The cost of a regular service is about $350.

Reviews of engines and wheels states: “Triumph motorcycles are one of the most reliable European motorcycle brands. They regularly last over 100,000 miles without major breakdowns or major work.”

Triumph Bonneville T120 Maintenance Figures

The Triumph Bonneville T120 is a desirable modern classic

Triumph Bonneville T120, side view
Triumph motorcycles

The first Triumph Bonneville T120 was built in 1959, so the 2023 model has real heritage. It’s a 1200cc parallel twin roadster. It looks like the bigger bikes of the early 70’s. On the side you have wire spoked wheels, old fashioned mudguards, rubber gaiters on the front fork, and freestanding headlights and dash.

The mirrors sit in round chrome housings mounted on curved chrome rods, the gas tank has a plastic kneepad, and the tailpipes on either side have a thin-thick-thin style. The seat is long, old-fashioned, and unevenly shaped, with a strap for the passenger’s handle running down the middle.

The engine looks old fashioned, all chrome covers and cooling fins. But there are some signs that this is a modern motorcycle. The understated radiator hints at liquid cooling, first introduced in 2016. The cylinder head has an upper cam. Carburetors are actually a fuel injection system disguised as carbs. Mean it.

Triumph Bonneville T120 design: a combination of classic and modern

Triumph Bonneville T120 in classic red and silver front third quarter
Triumph motorcycles

The T 120 has a classic look and feel combined with modern technology. In retro form, it shares a heritage with authentic retro cars such as the excellent Royal Enfield Interceptor, although it is more refined than the RE and, of course, more expensive. At the other end of the retro scale are the future-ready retro cars like the Indian Scout, BMW R nineT and others like the Yamaha XSR900.

The T 120 not only has a charming vintage look, but also offers a vintage ride quality. The engine is very responsive throughout the rev range, and the twin pipes speak with a pleasant rumble that turns into a real roar at speed. Many riders describe the T 120’s ride quality as light and relaxed, very similar to the recently discontinued CB1100, the spiritual successor to the original Honda CB750 that caused all these problems.

Design features

  • Wheels with wire spokes
  • Chrome details on the headlight and engine
  • Dual rear shock absorbers with prominent coil springs
  • Round rear-view mirrors in chrome housings
  • Two-tone gas tank

Triumph Bonneville T120 engine

2021 Triumph Bonneville T120 engine close-up
Triumph motorcycles

The Bonneville nameplate was born in land speed records in the 1950s – at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The T 120 shares the same base engine as the fiery Thruxton RS, but has a different setup, heavier crank and wider gearing. This engine is optimized for the low end, although the bike can go a little when needed.

The 1200cc parallel engine has a 270-degree crank, giving it better V-engine sound and performance than the old 360. It’s a completely modern engine with fuel injection, liquid cooling, dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. The engine feels better given the torque at low revs, and that suits the T 120’s overall relaxed style and riding position perfectly.

2023 Triumph Bonneville Engine Specifications

Configuration

Parallel-Twin, liquid cooling, eight valves, SOHC, 270° crank angle

Moving

1200 cubic meters

Diameter and stroke

97.6mm x 80mm

Compression

10.0:1

Maximum power

79 hp

Maximum torque

77.4 lb-ft

Transmission

6-speed

Fuel efficiency

60.1 MPG

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The Triumph Bonneville T120 is designed to be lightweight and lightweight

Triumph Bonneville T120 on the road
Triumph motorcycles

The T120 features Triumph’s signature tubular steel frame, which helps keep weight down while providing the cornering stiffness a big bike needs. Kayaba’s 41mm adjustable fork and dual shocks with 5-way preload at the rear fit well with the relaxed character of the T120. Large 18-inch wheels contribute to the relaxed character of the T120, although tweaking the rear shock settings will make for a great ride through a twisty mountain pass.

The seat is comfortable and quite low, and the height and height of the handlebars ensure a comfortable upright position while driving. The low center of gravity makes this rather heavy bike easy to handle. Dual discs in the front and single discs in the rear are fine for normal driving, but a quick stop at speed can be a bit of a concern.

The Triumph Bonneville T120 is a large bike that can accommodate taller riders, but the seat is quite low for shorter riders. The Bonnie T120 is a laid-back roadster designed for comfortable driving not a street race or a canyon.

2023 Triumph Bonneville T120 Component Specifications and Dimensions

frame

Steel pipe with double cradles and double-sided pendulum

Front wheel/front tire size

32-spoke 2.75″ x 18″ with aluminum rim

Rear wheel/rear tire size

32-spoke aluminum frame, 4.25″ x 17″.

Front suspension/rear suspension

41mm cartridge forks / Dual shock absorbers with adjustable preload

Front brakes/rear brakes

Dual 310mm discs with two-piston Brembo floating calipers / Single 255mm disc, two-piston Nissin floating calipers

Width

30.7 inches

Height

43.7 inches

Seat height

31.1 inches

wheel base

57.1 inches

Tank capacity

3.8 gal

Equipped mass

520 pounds

Features of Triumph Bonneville T120 technology

Triumph Bonneville T120 instrument cluster close-up
Triumph motorcycles

Motorcyclists may love the retro look of the T120, but the underlying technology of yesteryear won’t work today. Underneath the skin, the T120 has more than the bare minimum of basic features. The T120 has a lot of new technology hidden under the skin. Cruise control is controlled by a button on the left-hand switch panel, and heated grips, alarm, tracker and other essentials are available.

Noticeable technological features

  • ABS
  • Traction control
  • Two driving modes
  • LED daytime running lights
  • USB charging port

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Triumph Bonneville T120 Rivals

Royal Enfield Interceptor is very popular. It’s a real retro and about half the price of the T120. However, the T120 is in a different class than the cheap and cheerful Enfield. The Kawasaki W800 and Moto Guzzi V7 are also possible rivals. The Kawasaki is a more classic bike than the T120, so it will depend on the buyer’s preference.

The Guzzi is great, but much more basic than the Triumph. But there’s another unexpected contender, the Honda Rebel 1100. It fills the gap, bringing retro magic while being fully tech-loaded and refined. Its lower price also makes this Honda much more interesting.

2023 Triumph Bonneville T120 vs the competition: price comparison

Make and model

Base price

2023 Triumph Bonneville

$12,695

2023 Royal Enfield INT 650

6149 USD

2023 Moto Guzzi V7

$9,190 USD

2024 Kawasaki W800

10,399 USD

2024 Honda Rebel 1100

9,549 USD

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